Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity
NBER Working Paper No. 20989
We investigate the empirical relationship between ethnicity and culture, defined as a vector of traits reflecting norms, attitudes and preferences. Using surveys of individual values in 76 countries, we find that ethnic identity is a significant predictor of cultural values, yet that within-group variation in culture trumps between-group variation. Thus, in contrast to a commonly held view, ethnic and cultural diversity are unrelated. We explore the correlates of cultural diversity and of the overlap between culture and ethnicity, finding that the level of economic development is positively associated with cultural diversity and negatively associated with the overlap between culture and ethnicity. Finally, although only a small portion of a country's overall cultural heterogeneity occurs between groups, this does not imply that cultural differences between groups are irrelevant. Indeed, we find that civil conflict becomes more likely when there is greater overlap between ethnicity and culture.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20989
Published: Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2017. "Culture, Ethnicity, and Diversity," American Economic Review, vol 107(9), pages 2479-2513. citation courtesy of
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